Everybody knows it’s as important to floss their teeth every day as it is to brush. But many people still don’t do it. Maybe they find it unpleasant, or too time-intensive, or perhaps they just don’t understand all the great benefits flossing provides. In case you happen to be one of those folks, here are five great reasons to start flossing regularly:

As a quick side note, if you find yourself never flossing, but trying to do it when you remember from time-to-time, at least buy some of the new GUM Soft Picks as they are highly effective and will definitely help your oral health between flossing.

1.  You’ll save money

It’s true. Taking better care of your teeth now will save you a great deal of money in the future. Regular flossing cleans your teeth more thoroughly than brushing, and keeps your mouth and gums healthy. This, in turn, prevents serious problems that require high-cost treatments and emergency visits.

2.  Brushing alone just doesn’t cut it

Most people assume that they’re taking good care of their teeth by brushing twice a day. It’s true that they’re making a good start. But a toothbrush is unable to clean between teeth or under gums. As food particles and bacteria build up, the mouth develops a foul odor and eventually, teeth and gums will erode and decay. To avoid this, floss before brushing ‒ it gets into those hard to reach spots and allows your toothbrush and toothpaste to work more efficiently.

3.  Tartar removal is really unpleasant

Tartar is the hard substance that grows along the gum line and attaches itself to your teeth when plaque stays around too long. Once it’s there, only your dentist or dental hygienist can remove it. The process involves a lot of scraping, and can be extremely uncomfortable, if not painful. Flossing removes plaque before it has the chance to harden into tartar ‒ saving you the discomfort and expense of professional tartar removal.

4.  Your gums need protection, too

The very worst dental problems often stem from unhealthy gums. When plaque and tartar accumulate at the gum line, the gums become swollen, red, and sore. This is a sign of gingivitis, and it’s the first stage of serious gum infection. Left untreated, the infection will advance into periodontitis, which is severe gum infection. At this point, the teeth begin to lose their anchoring from the gums. They become loose, and eventually fall out. Even the bone beneath the gums will erode away if periodontitis isn’t treated in time. All this ‒ including the false teeth you’ll eventually need ‒ can be avoided simply by flossing.

5.  Inadequate oral hygiene leads to other problems

This is a lot more serious than a few cavities or some intensely bad breath. Medical research has consistently proven that a mouth full of harmful bacteria translates into diabetes, heart disease, and a variety of respiratory ailments. Just a few minutes of flossing every day eliminates the hidden colonies of bacteria from your mouth and dramatically reduces the chance that your life will be cut short by a serious systemic disease.

So start flossing, and smile! You’ll be saving yourself a lot of money and a whole bunch of serious health problems ‒ all with an just a few extra minutes a day and a little piece of string.